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What If We Had an Election and Nobody Showed? May 20, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Current Events, Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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California faces a budget debacle of historic proportions, so Ahhnold gave us an election he said would fix it. Voters turned out in historically paltry proportions to turn him down. From the Sacramento Bee:

Preliminary semi-official returns from the secretary of state’s office indicate that just 22.9 percent of California‘s registered voters cast ballots.

Conservatives are trying to spin the vote against Ahhnold as an expression of anger at his feeble tax increases. If 23% (many of whom were liberals who support higher taxes) is all the anger they can muster I don’t think politicians have much to fear from the anti-tax crowd.

No, the big yawn was spawned by the incoherence of this package of “reforms” and mistrust of the process that produced them.

I’m in the middle of grading final exams so I will let Marc Cooper speak for me:

I think it fair to assign the bulk of the blame to one Arnold Schwarzenegger. He came into office in 2003, promising to break up the boxes of government and to make a clean sweep of business-as-usual. He prematurely drove out of office a pay-to-play, uninspiring Democrat who had let the state debt burdgeon to a staggering  $38 billion.  Nice work, Arnold. Today that debt tops $70 billion. Teachers are being laid off. Police forces are being shrunk. Health care is being slashed. And much more mayhem is right around the corner…

Everyone with an IQ above room temp has known for a long time that there can be no long-term economic viability in California without a radical, that’s right, radical retooling of our tax base.  That means a scrapping of the onerous Prop 13 which, essentially, gives business and corporate interests a near free ride on already ridiculously low property taxes.

Arnold gave a lot of leeway on a lot of issues but he stubbornly stuck to his “no taxes” Republican mantra. At least until recently when, out of necessity, he began to approve a whole new tier of increased “fees.”

But it was all too little too late. Californians long ago grew bored by the annual budget deadlock in Sacramento. With new taxes needing a 2/3 super majority, the Repubs have just enough votes to gum up the works.  If Arnold had wanted to be remembered as an historic figure, instead of one more failed Governor, he would have shown the same courage on tax reform that he did on the environment he would have led the charge for change.

Instead, it was business as usual.

And now we will see if there is a shred of political courage left in Sacramento.

Cross-posted at Reviving the Left

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